So it’s a sunday afternoon in Cape Town and you’ve been asked to don shabby chick for a music video shot aboard the blue train. There is a number of things you could be concerned about, 1 being: what exactly does shabby chick look like? Or how will us two backup dancers proceed to maneouver, let alone perform a choreographed dance routine in the narrowest space available? But there was just too excitement to be bothered with details and if you’ve been dancing for the better part of your life, you realise that no matter the circumstances, size of the stage or number of other variables, the show must go on. Or the train will leave the station without you.
Some observations, thoughts and notes on dancing in a train music video.
– If you suffer from claustrophia, this is not a venture you should undertake lightly. The tiny passageway is narrow, you cannot move anywhere without brushing shoulders or more with anyone who walks past you. And many of the windows just seem to be there for show and can’t really open widely or at all.
– If you are not the lead singer, do not bring stuff. Big tog bags with your varieties of costumes for in-case scenarios and heavy boots cannot fit inside the carriage. The single room on the carriage can hardly hold your handbag let alone each extra’s wardobe.
– Do not at any stage part with your camera. Even if you’re caught off guard whilst applying make-up and get rushed inside by the director and told to find your place. Don’t get nervous, just breathe and remember you’re not in high school anymore; cellphones and cameras can come with you ( as long as they’re out of the shot!) Next thing you know, your head is hanging out the train and there are beautiful shots waiting to be captured of Table Moutain and your Nikon has been packed away in an adjoining carriage with the rest of the bagguage and you can’t squeeze past the crew shooting in the tiny room.
– Get clued up on interesting topics from around the world and within your city. Come the 1000th take of you having to pretend to chatter and mingle at a party and you may be clutching at anything for fresh conversation( unless you’re lucky and get positioned beside a friend and not a random).
– You may want to take it easy with the champagne you’re sipping on set. For continuity and authenticity, the barmen has to come around constantly to refill drinks for each take. The more you sip, the quicker he’ll top you up, the wobblier you’ll be as the train begins to move. That and the fact that there are no toilets in the carriage and it could be lengthy wait for the return.
– Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of last minute choreography. If you’re only going to feature for 11 seconds dancing beside the lead, something will come to you then and there. When the time comes to shake your groove thang and there’s actually no space to do it, just smile, move on the spot and enjoy this unique train dancing experience.
|Director calling my fellow backup dancer & I to action.|